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Memory Alpha
Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)
MA PRO star
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Prodigy, and thus may contain spoilers.
Parallel universe star chart

A star chart of a parallel universe


The Sphere-Builders in their native universe

For the alternate reality created by Nero's incursion, please see alternate reality.

A parallel universe, also called a parallel reality or alternate universe, is a self-contained universe running concurrently with the prime reality. (VOY: "Deadlock", "Flashback")

There are different types of parallel universes. Some are separate dimensional planes. Some of these planes are governed by completely different physical laws, while some duplicate the primary universe closely. Some parallel universes exist within subspace, while others exist as completely different quantum realities.

The idea of alternative universes had been around since the 20th century. While working on with the experimental spore drive in the mid-2250s, Captain Gabriel Lorca began seeing the possibility of exploring them. Later, his ship found itself in a hostile parallel universe, seemingly as the unexpected result of a jump, though this turned out to be the deliberate manipulation of Lorca, a resident of that parallel universe who had been posing as his prime universe counterpart. (DIS: "Despite Yourself", "Vaulting Ambition")

Types of parallel universes[]

Trans-dimensional realms[]

A multitude of universes exist in the same physical space but have a different dimensional structure from one another. For this reason they do not normally interact. (TOS: "The Tholian Web") By the early 2270s, the existence of these other realities could still not be proven logically, even though many of them were known to exist. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) There were several methods of entering parallel dimensional planes; one of them was a portal created by the Guardian of Forever. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever"; DIS: "Terra Firma, Part 1", "Terra Firma, Part 2")

Terran Empire moon landing

The moon landing in the mirror universe

  • Interphasic rifts also contained a parallel universe completely empty and devoid of life between dimensional planes. The rift itself allowed interaction between the dimensional planes of at least the primary and the mirror universe by overlapping them for periods of time. (TOS: "The Tholian Web"; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

Anti-Lazarus, an inhabitant of the minus universe

  • A solar quantum level cascade periodically caused a quantum fluctuation in the molecular structure of Meridian and its inhabitants. The fluctuation shifted them to an intersecting dimensional plane where all life and matter existed in non-corporeal form as pure consciousness without aging. (DS9: "Meridian")

A Megan performing magic in his parallel universe

  • In the Megan universe, magic was part of the natural laws. Megans who traveled out of their universe still maintained the ability to use thoughts to control reality, while Humans entering the Megan universe could use their thoughts to alter reality there, but would not maintain the power after returning. Matter in the primary universe originated from the Megan universe through creation points. Creation points were the active portals between the two universes. (TAS: "The Magicks of Megas-Tu")
  • The Sphere-Builders were native to a trans-dimensional realm that had its matter composed in such a way that it could not maintain cohesion in the primary universe. Interspatial parasites from this realm could, however, maintain existence in the primary universe as they existed in a state of interphase and temporal flux. The space inside the Sphere-Builders' trans-dimensional realm was similar to that inside a trans-dimensional disturbance, as such disturbances were created by the Sphere-Builders in an attempt to alter the Delphic Expanse so they could survive in and ultimately invade that region. Ultimately, the invasion failed. (ENT: "Harbinger", "Twilight", "The Council", "Zero Hour")

In the final draft script of "The Council", this trans-dimensional realm was described as "a tumultuous, otherworldly landscape... visually, a surreal cousin of the [trans-dimensional] disturbance Enterprise explored in 'Harbinger'."

  • The Prophets, while identifying themselves as being "of Bajor", were a non-corporeal extra-dimensional race known to reside in the realm known as the Celestial Temple. The Prophets had the ability to foresee all the consequences of their actions and did not conceive their existence in terms of linear time. The portal to the primary universe was the artificial wormhole. Humans in this dimension had the ability to relive any past event of their lives in the form of subjective or shared visions. (DS9: "Emissary")
  • The nucleogenic lifeforms, known as "spirits of good fortune" by the Ankari, were native to a different dimensional plane and could exist in the normal universe for only short periods of time. Nucleonic lifeforms had the ability to generate interspatial fissures to pass between the realms. (VOY: "Equinox")
  • When a second Kes appeared on USS Voyager through a spatial rift in 2372, Kathryn Janeway believed she had come from a different version of their ship. The Doctor began to wonder where this other Voyager existed, suggesting a parallel universe, another dimension, and a different point in time as a solution. It was later discovered that this other Voyager was a duplicate created by a spatial scission, existing at exactly the same point in space, at exactly the same time, but in a state of spatial flux. (VOY: "Deadlock")
  • In 2373Tuvok experienced a breakdown on the bridge of Voyager over a traumatic memory suppressed into the subconscious of an event Tuvok had not experienced. The Doctor surmised it could have been caused by any number of things, such as aliens with telepathic abilities or a brief experience with a parallel reality. After describing these to Tuvok, The Doctor commented "the universe is such a strange place." After initiating a mind meld with Captain Janeway, who was acting as Tuvok's pyllora, they both discovered that his breakdown was in fact not caused by contact with a parallel reality, but rather a memory virus unknowingly transmitted to him by his former crewmate from the USS ExcelsiorLieutenant Commander Dimitri Valtane, in 2293 during a battle with the Klingons. (VOY: "Flashback")
USS Voyager in fluidic space

Voyager in fluidic space

  • A parallel dimensional realm randomly intersected regions of space on the eighteenth dimensional gradient creating regions of chaotic space. In these overlapping zones the laws of physics were in a state of flux. (VOY: "The Fight")
  • The Nexus was a dimensional realm where reality shaped itself to accommodate the desires of anyone who entered it. Entry to the Nexus could be gained through proximity to a temporal flux energy ribbon in the primary universe. The Nexus could be exited by an act of will into any desired time and place in the universe. (Star Trek Generations)
  • In 2267, Spock speculated that the flying parasites might be native to a place where the physical laws of the known universe did not apply when they were discovered to be a collection of macroscopic brain cells without any apparent connection to one another, yet still capable of acting as a single brain. It was later discovered that they originated from the Large Magellanic Cloud. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")
Q Continuum ranch house

The Q Continuum made perceivable to Humans

  • The Q Continuum was the realm in which the limitless dimensions of the Milky Way Galaxy were combined. (TNG: "Hide And Q") The Continuum could be only understood by the Q. However, the Continuum could be allowed by a Q to manifest itself in any number of ways for other lifeforms to interact with it and perceive it in terms they could comprehend. (VOY: "Death Wish") The Q Continuum could be entered by non-Q when spatial disruptions originating from the Q Continuum caused matter from the primary universe to be sucked inside. (VOY: "The Q and the Grey")
  • Dr. Paul Manheim also believed in the existence of infinite dimensions. To prove the theory, he created a method of opening a window to another dimensional plane by creating a temporal disruption in our dimension. In the other dimension, the native life had a completely different existence to the primary universe. Until the window was closed, Manheim's mind existed in both dimensions at the same time. The sight of the other plane was so alien, the words to describe it did not exist in the Human language. (TNG: "We'll Always Have Paris")
  • First contact was made in 2376 with entities speculated to be composed of dark matter. They resided in a dark airless parallel dimension filled with lifeforms. They had the ability to transport between the realms. It was stated that the creatures realm did not exist in either space or subspace from the prime universe point of view. (VOY: "Good Shepherd")

The destination of SS Buckaroo Banzai was Planet 10 (DIM-8) in 2137 according to an okudagram seen in TNG: "Up The Long Ladder". This note was a reference to the film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension!, with "DIM-8" here being an abbreviation for the parallel universe of the 8th dimension seen in the film.

Subspace domains[]

Riker abducted

Commander Riker being abducted into a tertiary subspace manifold domain

There were also an infinite number of parallel universes within subspace. (TNG: "Schisms")

Sphere 634 attacking Voyager

A battle in transwarp space

  • New parallel universes could be also be created into subspace artificially by generating stable warp bubbles. The universe formed according to the thoughts of an individual trapped inside the bubble. The nature of these universes was a spheroid region surrounded by a mass energy field. A stable threshold between the universes manifested itself as a dynamic atmospheric disturbance of great intensity. Recreating the bubble in the prime universe generated a phase link with the warp bubble universe. (TNG: "Remember Me")
  • Interfold layers were unstable realms located in some regions of space. These realms were not contained within normal space or subspace, but in the confluence of the two. (VOY: "Real Life")

Quantum realities[]

Quantum realities

Data relates the principle of how quantum realities have divergent histories

Enterprise-D bridge, parallel reality

The bridge of the Enterprise-D in a quantum reality where Picard had died and Riker was in command

Riker gone mad

Captain Riker of a quantum reality where the Borg had decimated the Federation

There are an infinite number of alternate quantum realities, one for every possible outcome of any event that occurs. Each reality has its matter resonating on a unique constant quantum signature. Quantum universes were separated by barriers from one another. Although each universe was separate, they had a similar past until the particular diverging event occurred. (TNG: "Parallels") Temporal Mechanics 101 referred to quantum realities as "a whole other mess" and simply advised that they be avoided. (PRO: "Temporal Mechanics 101")

After the crew of the Infinity accidentally altered the timeline, Gwyn was caught between quantum realities in a superposition where she both did and didn't exist. The Doctor managed to stabilize Gwyn's condition using a temporal stabilizer, but she wasn't cured until the USS Protostar was sent back in time to Tars Lamora, thus repairing the broken timeline and ensuring her existence. (PRO: "Temporal Mechanics 101", "Ouroboros, Part II")

  • In one alternate quantum reality, Worf and the others held the same ranks and positions. Worf had won the tournament, but was given a surprise birthday party by the senior staff except Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The birthday cake was chocolate. The Argus Array had stopped transmitting data for an unknown reason. (TNG: "Parallels")
  • In one alternate quantum reality, Worf and the others held the same ranks and positions. Worf won the tournament and was given a surprise birthday party by the senior staff, including Captain Picard. The birthday cake was yellow, not chocolate. The Argus Array had stopped transmitting data due to a Cardassian takeover. (TNG: "Parallels")
  • In one alternate quantum reality, Worf and the others held the same ranks and positions. Worf came in as ninth in the tournament, after suffering a concussion. He was given a surprise birthday party by the senior staff. The Argus Array had stopped transmitting data due to a simple mechanical failure. (TNG: "Parallels")
  • In one alternate quantum reality, Worf and the others held the same ranks and positions. When Worf was given a surprise birthday party by the senior staff, he was given a completely different painting as a gift from Data. (TNG: "Parallels")
  • In one alternate quantum reality, Worf held the same rank and position, but was married to Deanna Troi. He didn't attend the tournament due to a malfunction in the ship's main deflector. Kurn attended the tournament in his place. Worf was given a birthday party by the senior staff and the new painting as a gift from Data. Doctor Crusher and Wesley were not on board the Enterprise. Data had blue eyes and Ogawa was the chief medical officer of the ship. The Argus Array was destroyed by the more aggressive Cardassians; Geordi La Forge was killed during the battle. Computer consoles had new configurations and the new warp core installed earlier in 2370 was never replaced. (TNG: "Phantasms", "Parallels")
  • In one alternate quantum reality, by 2370, the Federation had been completely wiped out by the Borg. The Enterprise-D was one of the last remaining ships and had taken heavy damage in the fight against the Borg. The ship was under the command of Captain Riker. Lieutenant Worf was serving at tactical. (TNG: "Parallels")

The writers of Star Trek, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, have explained that the alternate reality introduced in the film was a new quantum reality. [1]

Alternate realities[]

Different versions of a single timeline and alternate time continuums also sometimes coexisted as parallel realities or as smaller self-contained pocket realms.

For more information, see alternate timeline.


Background information[]

A list of episodes where we see a parallel universe.

Episode Destination Method
"The Alternative Factor" Minus universe Negative magnetic corridor
"Mirror, Mirror" Mirror universe Transporter malfunction/Ion storm
"The Tholian Web" Mirror universe Interphasic rift
"The Counter-Clock Incident" Reverse universe Beta Niobe supernova
"Remember Me" Collapsing warp bubble Warp field experiment
"Parallels" Multiple parallel universes Quantum fissure
"Crossover" Mirror universe Warp field anomaly
"Through the Looking Glass" Mirror universe Multidimensional transporter
"Shattered Mirror" Mirror universe Multidimensional transporter
"Resurrection" Mirror universe Multidimensional transporter
"The Emperor's New Cloak" Mirror universe Multidimensional transporter
VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II" Fluidic space Quantum singularity
ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" Mirror universe Interphasic rift
DIS: "Into the Forest I Go", "Despite Yourself", "The Wolf Inside", "Vaulting Ambition", "What's Past Is Prologue" Mirror universe Spore drive
PRO: "Cracked Mirror" Mirror universe and several alternate realities Interphasic rift

External link[]